Gender dissenter gets fired for his academic views
Dr. Allan Josephson discusses academic freedom, child welfare, gender ideology, and the price he has paid for his principles.
Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation and shared his professional opinion on the medicalization of gender-confused youth. The university responded by demoting him and then effectively firing him.
Now he is fighting back. Josephson v. Bendapudi has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
Here Josephson discusses his case, gender dysphoria, academic freedom, and the medical harms of gender ideology for children with National Review’s Madeleine Kearns. (Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.)
Madeleine Kearns: This all started after you appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Were you speaking there as a conservative or as a medical professional?
Allan Josephson: Oh, I was speaking as a medical professional, clearly. And I was chosen because of the perspective that I would give. I had been directing the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Louisville for 15 years. I had been successful there and was asked to give a speech off campus and on my own time. It was not a university event, and I was speaking in my individual capacity.
MK: So what happened?
AJ: Shortly after that speech, it became clear that a few on my faculty were upset with some of the things that I’d said. Within a few short weeks — it was stunning how quickly it occurred — I was removed from my leadership position and then, within the next year, subjected to fairly hostile work-environment situations and, finally, not that long ago, informed that my contract would not be renewed when it ended on June 30.
MK: So this is because of your expressed professional opinion on gender dysphoria in young people. I assume you knew, going to the Heritage Foundation, that this is a very hot topic politically. And yet you felt compelled to speak up. Why?
AJ: Well, I was asked by people that I respected. Their concern was that we hear all kinds of information from one perspective. And the leaders of the seminar recognized that not all voices were being heard. I had given a couple of talks in other places. So, they invited me, and I was aware of the potential controversy. But I also had things I needed to say because I felt they were clinically true and appropriate and because this is a perspective that more people need to hear.